A leaked WWF report exposes the scale of illegal logging in Laos. Almost all of timber exports from Laos go to Vietnam and China. In 2013, Laos exported 1.4 million cubic metres of timber to these two countries. That’s more than 10 times the official timber harvest in Laos.
The fallout from the Great Fall in financial markets, equities and currencies is ricocheting through the regional economy and beginning to exact a toll – initially among badly-run companies and poorly-managed government institutions.
Cambodia’s long-dormant mining sector could finally be seeing some movement after years of aborted foreign-backed projects, as the government introduces wide-ranging reforms in an effort to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Crucial new mining legislation proposed by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen is aimed at bringing the fledgling industry in line with international practices in order to attract investment and compete with other regional economies.
Asean countries need to integrate appropriate safeguards to ensure inclusiveness and sustainability in any benefits to be brought about by the Asean Economic Community (AEC), experts said recently.
At a Bangkok symposium on “Shared solutions: Safeguarding sustainable development in the Mekong region”, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, senior energy economist at the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, said AEC will propel infrastructure investment in the Mekong region.
A group of villagers are demanding the government cancel its policy of giving out Special Prospecting Licences throughout Thailand to boost gold mining. People who have been affected by the gold mining business agreed and set up a civil society group which aims to reform gold mining business and policy. The primary goal of the group is to reform the national policy on gold mining, including changing business ownership to Thai national only, business transparency, which will provide maximum benefit to the country and Thai people.
On 16 September, the European Union (EU) and EU Member States met with more than 50 local Civil Society Organisations for the launch of the EU Roadmap for engagement with civil society according to an EU statement on 16 September. The Roadmap is the result of an extensive and inclusive process of consultation with over 150 Myanmar Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the EU and its Member States. At the event, CSOs, international partners and the EU discussed priorities for future action which are outlined in the Roadmap.
The Lao government’s changes to regulations on domestic nonprofit associations will hinder the work of the groups and slow down development projects in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, an NGO official said Friday.
The Thai government hopes to ease its public debt burden by luring the private sector to invest more in multibillion-baht infrastructure projects, especially in telecommunications and transport, through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
A public consultation organized by the Mekong River Commission was held in Pakse, Laos, last week, where opponents continued to call for Laos to reconsider a controversial dam project.
Water and river grabbing refers to situations where powerful actors such as developers and governments are able to take control of, or reallocate to their own benefits – including decision-making power – the use of rivers and water resources.
Though hydropower is considered a form of clean energy, the construction and operation of hydropower dams can drastically destroy rivers, and alter people’s way of life forever. Therefore, assessment of the environmental impacts of specific hydropower projects is crucial to avoid what can be called ‘river grabbing’.
Government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region have agreed to establish a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) recently in Hanoi, Vietnam.